March 20, 2003

Buddhist Peace Group
Union College 'Lysistrata' Reading

We sat cross-legged, in silent meditation, holding pictures of Iraqi children in front of our faces

The Buddhist Peace Group participated in the Union College 'Lysistra' reading today. As people entered
the auditorium, they found us sitting cross-legged, in silent meditation, our faces behind pictures of Iraqi children.

After the play, the entire audience joined us in two minutes of silent meditation, in which we visualized - with compassion - the children of Iraq.

Buddhists typically use various forms of 'calm abiding' meditation to learn how to achieve inner peace. Other practices, often involving visualizations, are used to actively engender empathy towards others, including one's enemies.

These meditations are used in combination with methods for examining our motivations and attitudes in order to then be able to take appropriate action to bring about peace in our hearts and in the world.

If, as Howard Zinn pointed out in his recent talk at Siena College, we could only see the Iraqi children, meet them face to face, we'd soon recognize that they are like our children. We'd realize that they have the same desires and needs as our children - and we would have no war.

In the absence of opportunities for face-to-face meetings, we must use whatever methods that we have at our disposal to engender empathy for those to whom we would do harm.